GUEST COMMENTARY | News from the Gold Dome
by District 59 Rep. Mike McLachlan
Mar 13, 2013 | 942 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The last few weeks at the State Capitol have been very productive and exciting.  As I mentioned last week, I was very pleased to join Gov. Hickenlooper for the signing ceremony of my first bill, HB13-1076, on Wednesday, Feb. 27. This bill strengthens the Colorado Bureau of Investigation so that it can more effectively serve our state. I am very proud that this was my first bill to be signed into law.

Another bill I am sponsoring, HB13-1232,  authorizes a person assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion to obtain a fishing license free of charge as part of their rehabilitation. I believe we must honor our wounded veterans and provide them with the resources necessary to make a full recovery. This bill represents just one small way we can show our gratitude to the wounded warriors at Fort Carson. This particular program has shown fishing to be a surprisingly effective rehabilitative activity, and I am proud to have been able to work with Sen. Steve King from Grand Junction on this important piece of legislation.  HB13-1232 was unanimously passed through the House on second and third reading and it is now on its way to the Senate, where I expect it will also receive unanimous support. 

Two other bills that I am sponsoring, HB13-1060, that increases the maximum allowable municipal court fine and HB13-1198 that strengthens the Indian Affairs Commission both passed through the House on third reading and have now been sent to the Senate. I’ve discussed these bills at length in previous letters so I won’t elaborate further on them here, except to say that I am very pleased to work with Sen. Linda Newell of Littleton and Sen. Ellen Roberts on these bills.  I know that both bills will be very in good hands on their journey through the Senate. 

Because I am on the House Judiciary Committee, I also had the opportunity to vote in support of SB13- 011 that will allow Civil Unions for same sex couples.  I support this bill, and I have supported equal protection under the law for same sex couples since the beginning of my campaign. On  Monday, Civil Unions passed the second reading voice vote on the House Floor, and I look forward to voting for it on third reading and it being signed into law by the governor. 

You might have heard that the tuition equity bill for undocumented students, which is commonly known as ASSET, also passed by the House of Representatives last Friday.  I support this bill and voted for it, but I’ve heard some criticism of it from my constituents, so I want to clarify what it does and does not do and answer some of these concerns. I believe it is economically short sighted and counter-productive for our state to force some of our best and brightest students and future job creators of our state to leave Colorado to pursue an affordable, world-class college education. By giving undocumented Colorado students access to affordable college education, we encourage all of our Colorado students to redeem their academic potential and become active contributors to the Colorado of the future. Also, this program is exclusively for undocumented students who have attended a Colorado high school for at least three years, graduated from a Colorado high school and have applied and been accepted to a Colorado institute of higher learning. These are students who we, as a state, have already invested in through K-12 education, and we shouldn’t squander that investment by not encouraging them to pursue higher education through our great Colorado universities and colleges. Undocumented students electing to participate in this program are also required to seek lawful presence in this country as soon as possible. I believe this is an important piece of legislation for all Coloradans, documented and undocumented alike, and I am proud to support it.   

I continue to be honored to serve as your State Representative. If you’d like to contact me during the legislative session, I can be reached at: 303-866-2914 or mike.mclachlan.house@state.co.us

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